Buying a boat is a big decision. Whether you just want to spend more time out on the water or you're looking for a boat to entertain all your friends and family, this guide to the different boats for sale and how to decide will make that difficult choice slightly easier.
The boat's purpose
Why do you want a boat? If you're keen to take your family waterskiing on a lake, you will want a boat which can fit a few people and which has lots of power. On the other hand, if you just want a quiet fishing trip with one other person, you'll be able to choose a much smaller boat, with less power. While considering these factors, another important aspect of the boat is its portability. Where you want to use the boat, and how you will transport it there, could change your requirements. Most people like to be able to haul their boat across the country on a trailer, but some will just leave it on the water in a harbour, especially if it's near where they live.
New or used
As a few quick searches will show you, used boats for sale tend to be much cheaper than new ones. However, there are pros and cons to both sides. Just like with cars, used boats tend to be variable in their quality. Look for refurbished boats for a cheap, but higher-quality alternative. New boats for sale will be high-quality, but they can be expensive. Modern boating technology means that new boats do tend to last longer, and have more power in a small engine. Though new boats are expensive, they will be worth it if you want the extra power and longevity.
The buying process
Find a boat shop with a good reputation to buy from. Look at the number of boats for sale and ask your friends and family what they think of the boat shop. The experiences of others can be invaluable when it comes to choosing which shop to buy from. Alternatively, you could look for the specific type of boat you want and go to a shop which sells that boat. However, even with a boat-first approach, you still need to check that the seller is reputable. To save money considering boats for sale, remember that electronic devices included on board often age badly and aren't really necessary, so you can probably do without them. Lastly, ask the staff at the boat shop for advice if you need help - their expertise could make a huge difference.